Video marketing is gaining pace at an unimaginable speed. Long texts and images are becoming a thing of the past. The viewers are now much interested in seeing videos. They connect with the visual content faster in comparison to other mediums.
No wonder, YouTube is the second largest search engine. But just a general question? Did you ever feel that YouTube is showing you exactly what you want to see? How does this happen? Does YouTube have any supernatural powers? Does it have any magical powers?
No, it is nothing like that. There is no rocket science or magical power behind this. There is a simple algorithm working behind this. And today in this blog, I am going to tell you all about how viewers discover videos and how YouTube gives suggestions.
According to the numbers, YouTube collects 80 billion bits of user information every day, based on their search behaviour. So, can you imagine, how minutely YouTube monitors you?
Let us take a peek behind the curtains and understand…
Like any other business, YouTube also has one major goal – to meet customer satisfaction. Show the viewer exactly what they want to see and you win the show. If a visitor has to browse through 10 different pages to reach the result, it gets a little frustrating. But on the other side, if they see what they were searching on the first page, it not only saves time but also satisfies the viewer.
Now, every visitor has a different taste and it can get difficult to keep track of every viewer. Well, it can be difficult for humans, but not for the algorithms.
If we talk about the time, when YouTube registered 4 billion hours of view every month, compared to 1 billion hours every day now, things worked differently. In 2012, the algorithms worked on the number of clicks a video is getting and that is how it ranked or suggested videos.
This resulted in, even the unworthy videos gaining popularity. Viewers would click the video if they thought the title was unusual or the thumbnail was interesting. But would shut it down as soon as they felt disinterested. This though increased the click of the video and it came into the logs of YouTube algorithms. But this was a major drawback for the deserving videos and the most important purpose of meeting the need to the viewer.
Then came another wave and algorithms changed its way of working. During the time period of 2012-2016, instead of the clicks, it focused on the watch time and session time.
After 2016, came the era of ML (Machine Learning) and things changed again. The algorithms became smarter and the criteria became a little strict. Now the tactics to increase clicks or view time did not work anymore.
Now the question is…
Time needed: 3 minutes.
How Does YouTube Algorithm Works?
Basically, there are two major goals of YouTube:
To help the viewers to find the videos that they want to watch.
To increase user satisfaction and long term viewer engagement.
YouTube algorithms work to achieve these two major goals. There are different parameters to decide, which video should be suggested according to the interests of the viewer. There are two ways of how a viewer can discover videos on YouTube:
In comparison of the two ways, search functionality is the easier way. The way the search functionality works has not changed over the years and even YouTube has not messed up the way this functions.
Search results are basically dependent on keywords and watch time. One easy way to rank on both YouTube and Google is using the right thumbnail, title, description of the videos, tags, etc. And good quality, genuine content will help you increase the watch time. And in the long run, if you win these two parameters, it will affect the suggestions.
The biggest advantage of search functionality is, in the coming years, this will remain virtually unaffected by the changes in how algorithms work or will work.
Some other advantages of search functionality are:
> It is safer in the long run.
> Right keywords help to increase viewer time.
> It will be virtually unaffected with future changes in algorithm working.
> It gives precise results.
However, there are a few disadvantages also:
> It has limited outreach
> It is responsible for only 30% of the views.
The way YouTube suggestion work has been changing since its inception. And unlike search functionality, this is responsible for 70% of views.
YouTube suggestions are really vast and are not just limited to the homepage. There are several types of suggestions that YouTube displays, based on the user’s behaviour. Though they may seem the same, each one of them is different in their own way.
The different types of suggestion given by YouTube are:
a. Recommended Tabs
These are the videos that YouTube suggests based on your previous interests. And technically, these are the suggestions that usually most people and businesses focus on. The main factor that helps you land up in the recommended tabs is your hold on the keywords, likes, watch time, duration, etc. And these are also the main parameters that YouTube considers for all types of suggestions. Another factor that is also majorly responsible for recommended videos is the viewer’s search pattern.
b. YouTube Mixes
YouTube mixes are the videos or a playlist that the algorithms create based on the videos that the viewer has already seen in the past. But generally, this is not considered to be an important factor. However, this is a mistake. This undoubtedly is an important factor.
c. <Topic> Tabs
This also recommends videos based on search history. And it is simply based on the keywords. These recommendations may differ from user to user. This parameter somehow works like the recommended tab. You can reach this tab by focusing on the keywords and the tags.
d. Recently Uploaded
This parameter is a combination of subscription and recommended tabs. YouTube gives suggestions to the viewers based on the recent history of the viewer and the channels he has subscribed to. This tab is important because it displays videos that are less than one week old.
e. Up Next Videos
Though there are a few controversies regarding this tab. Earlier this parameter was known as ‘Also Watch’. Many creators felt that the videos suggested in this tab should be only from the channel whose video is playing.
f. Trending Videos
This is one of the oldest tabs on YouTube. This tab is a little messy and has not been quite useful for anyone. The suggestions in this tab depend on the likes of individual creators.
This is the easiest and the most sorted tab. It notifies or displays the suggestions to the viewer based on the viewer’s subscription to any particular channel. One extra feature offered by this tab is the opportunity given to the creators to post stories and activities. This tab can also be used to advertise and promote upcoming videos, releases and updates.
h. <Channel> Viewers also watch Tabs
YouTube categorises different channels based on the genres. Then it analyses the viewer’s search interest and based on that it gives suggestions to the viewers, recommending them similar channels.
Now comes the point, how can your videos land in these suggestions?
If you wish for your videos to feature in the YouTube suggestions, you will have to work according to the algorithms. Below are some points you should keep in mind while publishing on YouTube.
1. Series Based Video Production:
Algorithms give preference to videos that have continuous series. No one is interested in seeing only one video, they wish to see what is next. So pay attention to creating a playlist and series based videos.
2. Off Platform Promotions:
Other videos embedded on any other social media channels also contribute to increasing the views on YouTube. This off-platform promotion helps a lot to et in the books of YouTube algorithms.
3. Thumbs up/down Ratio:
The likes and dislikes of any video also influence the algorithms. The videos have high likes do land up in the suggestions given by YouTube. Though it is not very important in the current scenario, it is still an important factor. Likes do matter.
4. Relevant Keywords:
Keywords are the base of optimization. Be it on Google, YouTube or any other search engine. Keywords do play an important role when it comes to search and suggestions on YouTube. Use relevant keywords in the title, descriptions, tags, etc.
5. Upload Frequency:
The upload frequency of any video still matters when it comes to YouTube algorithms. Since millions of videos are uploaded every day on YouTube, uploading time of your video does make a difference.
6. Channel Strength:
If a channel does not have subscribers, no matter how good your video and content is, it is of no use. Algorithms will consider your channel genuine, only if people are visiting your channel and subscribing to it.
7. Descriptions and Title:
The description and title of any video are as important as the content of the video. The title and description of your video should have enough relevant keywords. One tip to rank in the eyes of algorithms is having long descriptions.
8. Watch Time:
The longer a video is watched, the more chances it has to get featured in the suggested videos. The length of the video does not matter. Even if the video is only 5 minutes long but is watched by millions of viewers for millions of hours, it automatically becomes popular and is fit to be suggested by YouTube.
Basically, there are a lot of parameters that the algorithms follow, but still the most important remains to be the content of your video. If your content is entertaining, genuine and has what the viewers want to see, your videos will automatically rank.
If you also want to be a star on YouTube and want your videos to rank, follow the above-mentioned tips. Do not forget to share your experiences and views after trying it.
Also, you are most welcome to share your thoughts or suggestions if you want to read about any particular topics.
Stay tuned with Digihunts Academy to read about more such blogs.